Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Curry Clube on Culinary Backstreets Blog

Present at the last Curry Clube were American journalists Nadia Sussman and Taylor Barnes. Click the image below to see their subsequent write-up of the event on the Culinary Backstreets blog:

Many thanks Nadia and Taylor!

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Interview on BBC Radio Leeds with Russell Walker

Yesterday I gave an interview on Russell Walker's show on BBC Radio Leeds about the Favela Brass project. Thanks very much to producer Munaza Rafiq and presenter Russell Walker for having me on the show.

Saturday, 14 June 2014

Friday, 13 June 2014

Favela Brass on Channel 5

Big thanks to Peter Lane and co. from UK's Channel 5 for coming to film the Favela Brass Project on Wednesday and featuring it on the news on Thursday:

Monday, 5 May 2014

My Essential Samba Playlist

I came to Rio de Janeiro in 2008 having fallen in love with Brazilian music, and made the decision to try and experience it first hand. One of the first things that I noticed was that at all of the live samba parties, there was a repertoire of classic songs that everyone seemed to know and sing along to. 5 years later, after playing countless samba gigs with various bands, I've now become familiar with a fair portion of this repertoire as well.

The following playlist (just click the image below to access it) is an attempt to pass on the knowledge that I have accumulated as a result of these 5 years of painstaking research. To arrive at this point I have had to play trombone and drink ice-cold beer at hundreds of samba parties around Rio, sometimes with nothing to eat apart from industrial quantities of barbequed Brazilian steak. It's been a very tough time, but I comfort myself with thought that if at least someone out there enjoys the following selection of music then my sacrifice won't have been entirely in vain...

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

São Jorge Brass Band @ Lavradio Jazz Festival (Rio Carnival 2014)

On Sunday my jazz band, the São Jorge Brass Band, played at Rio Carnival as part of Lavradio Jazz Festival. We had a great gig, many thanks to Santo Scenarium for organising the festival and inviting us to play.

São Jorge Brass Band:

Pedro Araujo (banjo)
Tom Ashe (trumpet)
Levi Chaves (clarinet)
Altair Martins (trumpet)
Fritz Meier (trombone)
Fernando Pereira (surdo)
Rodrigo Serra (caixa)
Carlos Vega (tuba)

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Photos from bloco Ceu na Terra em Santa Teresa

More photos from carnival... Yesterday morning I played with bloco Ceu Na Terra (Heaven on Earth) in Santa Teresa:

(Click photo for full album)

Friday, 28 February 2014

Photos from Perola da Guanabara Carnival Party in Paquetá

Paquetá is a small island in Rio's Guanabara bay, 80 minutes' boat ride from the city's Praça XV port. Every year there's a carnival party there called Perola da Guanabara (Pearl of Guanabara). Here's the photos from this years' party on Saturday:

Aerial Video and Photos from Carnival Bloco Cordão do Boitatá

I have played with bloco Cordão do Boitatá at every Rio carnival since 2009. The parade this year was on Sunday. Here's an aerial video and photos:

São Jorge Brass Band @ Lavradio Jazz Fest this Carnival Sunday

Rio carnival this year runs from Saturday March 1st until Tuesday March 4th. Each afternoon from 1pm there's going to be live dixieland jazz in front of Santo Scenarium in Lapa, as part of Lavradio Jazz Festival.

Last year my dixieland band played there and we had an absolutely cracking time (click photo for full album):

I got invited to put a band in again this year and decided to create together a New Orleans-style brass band for the occasion. The band is called the São Jorge Brass Band - São Jorge (St. George) being a common reference both in Brazil and the UK. Replacing the drum kit with 2 percussion players means that we'll be able to parade in the street, which I think will make us Rio's only New Orleans jazz bloco this year!

The band is as follows:

Pedro Araujo (banjo)
Levi Chaves (clarinet)
Altair Martins (trumpet)
Fritz Meier (trombone)
Fernando Pereira (snare drum)
Rodrigo Serra (bass drum)
Carlos Vega (sousaphone)
Me (trumpet + euphonium)

The São Jorge Brass Band will play at 1pm on Carnival Sunday, and I will also play Lavradio Jazz Fest on the Monday at 4pm with the Baixada Jazz Big Band, and on the Tuesday at 1pm with the Monte Alegre Hot Jazz Band.

Friday, 21 February 2014

Article in "Rio Show" Supplement of Newspaper O Globo

As part of a feature about foreigners who play in Rio's carnival blocos, today's Rio Show supplement of Brazilian newspaper O Globo has a short piece about me.

(Text translated into English)

"In the case of Tom Ashe, appearances aren't deceptive. With light-coloured skin, blue eyes and a ginger beard, he looks like a foreigner. English, to be precise. In ever other respect, however, he's an authentic carioca. He has permanent residency, his own micro-company, a bank account, tax number and supermarket reward card. He even shares our sense of humour and jeitinho.

Five years ago Tom (34) arrived in Rio to study Brazilian music for 6 months. What little he knew of Brazilian music came from recordings of Elza Soares, from the 1960s, with their alluring combination of samba and brass instruments. Just as he was leaving, ex-president Luiz Inácia Lula da Silva announced an amnesty, which made all illegal immigrants legal residents. He stayed for good.

After all, he was already a local. By way of an intermediary in the form of the brother in law of a guitarist with whom he was playing at a bar in Lapa, Tom found himself playing in bloco Cordão do Boitatá at carnival 2009, his first in Rio. This Sunday, he'll be in the procession that departs from Rua do Mercado in the centre of Rio at 8H, with trumpet in hand.

"I also play tuba, trombone and euphonium, but for carnival I prefer the trumpet, because it's lighter", he says.

He has a full schedule over the coming days of carnival.

"I work a lot during carnival" Tom jokes, using his fingers to put the word "work" in quotation marks. "Aside from Boitatá, I'll be playing with Mário Bloco. And on the 2nd of March, my band, the São Jorge Brass Band, will be playing play New Orleans jazz in front of Santo Scenarium, in Lapa."

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Bloco Tô Ligado at the Last Rehearsal of Cordão do Boitatá

Yesterday the children of Bloco Tô Ligado played in the interval of the last rehearsal of carnival bloco Cordão do Boitatá in the Morro dos Prazeres favela:

Monday, 17 February 2014

Bloco Tô Ligado

For the last year, I've been working with Brazilian percussionist Manguerinha and social project Projeto Tô Ligado to create a carnival bloco (street band) with children from favelas in the Santa Teresa district. That bloco is now called Bloco tô Ligado and rehearses twice a week with 15 children between the ages of 7 and 14.

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Bloco Tô Ligado: Pre-Carnival Ball

For the last year, I've been working with Brazilian percussionist Manguerinha and social project Projeto Tô Ligado to create a carnival bloco (street band) with children from favelas in the Santa Teresa district - funding the activities with the proceeds of a monthly Indian food and music event called the Curry Clube. We threw a pre-carnival ball at the project this Sunday to provide an opportunity for the children to play in public. The children played all of the classic carnival marches and it ended up being a great party. Big thanks to everyone who came along and helped out!

Baixada Jazz Big Band @ Santo Scenarium

I'm playing at Santo Scenarium tonight with the Baixada Jazz Big Band.

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Bombartrio @ Santo Scenarium

Every Tuesday throughout February at 7pm I'll be playing with jazz trio Bombartrio at Santo Scenarium in the Lapa District, alongside Pedro Araujo (guitar) and Rodrigo Serra (drums/vibraphone).

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Rehearsing with the Children of Projeto Tô Ligado

On Sunday, the children that Manguerinha and I teach as part of Projeto Tô Ligado will play at their own pre-carnival ball at the project. Today was the last full rehearsal:

For anyone living/staying in Rio, just click the flyer below to see the Facebook invite for Sunday's party (in Portuguese):

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Carnival Rehearsal with the Children of Projeto Tô Ligado and Cordão de Boitatá

One of the largest of the street bands (known as "blocos") that plays in Rio city centre during carnival season is called Cordão de Boitatá. This band comprises around 50 of the city's best wind instrument players and percussionists and attracts huge crowds at their parade on the Sunday before Carnival. The band traditionally holds open rehearsals on Mondays in the run up to carnival, which end up being more like warm-up shows because all of the musicians know the songs backwards anyway.

This year, instead of holding their rehearsals in the centre of Rio, the band decided to hold them in a favela, the Morro dos Prazeres in Santa Teresa. Since the Morro dos Prazeres is close to where the children who me and Mangueirinha teach as part of Projeto Tô Ligado live, I thought it might be a nice idea to see if they could come down to the rehearsals and get the experience of playing alongside professional musicians. The directors of Cordão do Boitatá liked the idea and yesterday the kids got to sit in at the start of the rehearsal.

The kids played well and enjoyed the experience. Big thanks to the organisers of Cordão do Boitatá for letting them have a go!

Saturday, 25 January 2014

TV Brasil Feature (with subtitles)

In December, Brazilian national TV channel TV Brasil visited the project where I teach children from Rio's favelas how to play brass and percussion instruments alongside Brazilian percussionist Mangueirinha. Here's the feature that they broadcast, complete with my dodgy English subtitles...